Sunday, August 15, 2010

How (not) to Tattoo a Goat Kid

My dad and I tattooed Dehlia yesterday. Here's a tip . . . always tattoo goat kids when they're very small and you can fit them into a holding box. I ended up getting beat up by a 30# dairy kid.

First I had the bright idea to put Dehlia on her back, sit over her, pin her head on the ground to have access to both ears. Not so bright. I ended up getting kicked really bad. After some more wrestling I got her pinned on the ground on her side . . . squashed the poor kids head under my arm, and held onto that ear for dear life. I made my dad have the honor of clamping the tattoo onto the ear (hopefully its not upside down!) We switched the letters and tattooed the other ear.

A minute or two later and Dehlia was running like a march hare around the yard, following dad and I as we went about our business. So cute and unscathed!

1. Tattoo kids when they're young
2. Remember gloves and wear old clothes
3. Bring a hypodermic needle in case you need to re-do a letter
4. Cleanse the spot with rubbing alcohol
5. Rub the spot with ink
6. Clamp the pliers super hard (auto release is marvelous)
7. Rub more ink into the holes for 15 seconds
8. Now the other ear
9. Done! Give the goat kid some lovin'

It was certainly interesting ;) I probably got more ink on my body than on Dehlia's ears.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Studio Nearly Done!!!



my $1.00 mirror from a rummage sale.

You know what stinks? I just got my own studio and now I may not enjoy it for four years . . . Have you guessed why yet? Yuppers, I just may be going to a four year college :)

Sweet and sour, bitter sweet, light and dark, happy and sad am I. My goats are being sold. Thankfully I'll be able to keep my horse and the first baby goat I bred, Clover. Its also possible that I can keep my dogs and pure bred buckling, Duke. Everyone else has to go ~ seven animals total.

Red Brick Farm is dissolving away until God thinks its the right time to let me settle down with a new farm. Maybe the family will still keep the name but it won't be following me.

Here's some of the latest pictures of my studio!


Pardon the cord hanging from the ceiling! This is my 'heffalump' wall!!!! There's five sets of polka dots. I made the stencils with wax paper and traced them with household items like Pam, spice containers, etc . . . then cut them out with a razor blade.
Remember when you collected bits of broken plates as a kid? I'm collecting people's cast-off furniture items ;) Same concept but more grown up!
The drapes were free from my grandma. It gives me the cozy imitation of privacy and covers up the ugly unfinished bathroom.
The celtic stencil in the closet was handmade too but I decided I didn't like it after practicing in the closet ;)
Instead, I went with polka dots in Wintergreen, Chocolate (or coffee), and White.
See!!!!

I recently got a wintergreen wastebasket from Target for $2.50 and some cute owl notecards (one of which will be hung on the wall). I also painted some ugly wooden frames to hang on the wall--pictureless--just to enjoy the concept of the colors I chose. Eventually I'll paint cute woodland themes on the frames. Also, once I'm done with school, I plan on getting an overstuffed chair, sewing table and cutting mat, sewing machine, storage shelves, and my own desk. In the meantime I have to keep the studio filled with my junk so my dad doesn't move in as his new office while I'm gone!!!! GASP!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Studio Postponed

"I'm just one stomach flu away from . . . " finishing my studio :(

Saturday, July 24, 2010

More Studio Progress: Nearly Done Painting :)


Talk about blisters, sore muscles as well as temporary idiocy from paint fumes! Nearly Done!!!! Tomorrow after church I get to paint my special designs on the walls (its a secret) and then begin working on painting the floor. Tuesday the room should be all ready to start moving in :)

The palette includes:
Pool
and
Sand

Or in Walmart terms, Wintergreen and Painted Desert. A pottery barn catolog made my decision final about going with a seafoam/teal/mint color. But then its also an overpowering color so I went with a neutral sand to warm things up a bit. Just wait until the designs are painted on!!!!!


Viewing from the entry.

The rock collection corner.


Viewing towards the entry.




Thursday, July 22, 2010

Update on Project: Studio




All the priming is done! So is are the second coats on the cement walls! I even painted part of the closet!!!

First pic is from the entry, second is the closet, and last is the previously unpainted corner with the rock collection ;)


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sulfadimethoxine

Heehee, great title!

Have you ever heard of coccidiosis? Its a sickness caused by the little protozoans called Coccidia. The parasites cause diarrhea, vomiting, and some times death.

All livestock have a certain amount of coccidia in their intestines. When the count becomes to large for the animal to handle, they start showing symptoms.

We had one doeling last year that probably had coccidiosis when she was being weaned. There's a possibility that my doelings don't grow like they should because of three things:

1. Purina Goat Chow isn't giving them the nutrition they need.
2. Worm overload.
3. Coccidia overload.

Remember my post about milk fever and ketosis? Well, its possible there's a worm overload or once again, the Goat Chow. Milk fever and ketosis are preventable with proper nutrition which makes me guess Purina isn't doing something right. The average person would think that a scientist formulated feed would cover all your bases . . . at least thats what I thought before my second doe came down with milk fever.

How to treat coccidia? With a drug called Albon, or sulfadimethoxine and treating the kids once a month until they're 8 months old. But then there goes my dreams of having an organic farm.

What are your thoughts? Would you sacrifice the future health and productive life of your livestock in order to have an 'organic' farm?

But then isn't Albon once a month much better than using medicated feed for that whole time?

Before signing out to work on the Studio . . . this coming paycheck will definitely find itself paying for a fecal on my doelings. Then we'll know for sure if Coccidia are lurking in the kidpen, keeping my darling kids from growing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Project: Studio

When my older sis got married and moved out, she still had some items in her storage area in our basement. This past week I've been working on packing everything in boxes, moving everything out, cleaning like there's no tomorrow, and praying the spiders can't crawl out of the shopvac. It will be my personal space for doing homework, crafting, sewing, packaging/shipping, and vegging out. An overstuffed chair is an absolute requirement in the "O-zone" as an older sib so lovingly calls it ;)

Anyways, here's a picture from the entry way for *before* purposes. Today I'm working on priming the drywall and second coating the cement walls.


So basically its just an unattractive unfinished basement storage room. I think I'm gonna paint the walls a 'pool' color . . . its somewhere in between seafoam, aqua, and teal. For some reason blue always evokes inspiration for me.


Dad was in the process of building a bathroom but got distracted and returned the sink :) Maybe we'll get him to pick it up again! At least I'm hoping he'll hang drywall on this side . . .


Underneath the stairs will be my storage area for lye, oils, soap supplies, crafting supplies, essential oils, etc. The shelf at the back will be the curing rack for soaps and a table will be on the right wall for the packaging center. My mom's rock collection at the back right corner will be moving soon ;)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Don't Worry ~ Enjoy TODAY!

One day I was soooo stressed, wondering about all those "what ifs". Then God brought an inspiring thought to mind.

ENJOY TODAY!

Tomorrow will come soon enough. Tomorrow is NOT today. I need to enjoy what I have today because tomorrow it may be gone . . . but worry has no place in today. Leave worry in the past or the future, but not today. Worrying about tomorrow has been ruining countless 'todays'; sucking them into a black abyss of worry, never to be returned. All those hours I wasted worrying when I could have been ENJOYING life.

Life isn't a coupon. You can't redeem it for the days you've wasted worrying.

I'm going to start enjoying 'today'. How about you?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lovely Lavender Soap

Idlewylde's newest soap! Scented with pure 100% natural Lavender essential oil. This soap is captivating, heady, yet very refreshing. As a soap-maker I can't legally make any claims, but aromatherapists use Lavender to relax stress-prone individuals.

This batch turned out excellent after an extended curing time :) Surprisingly, lav. eo has a slight minty afternote . . . who would have thought!




Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Spiritual Kick in the Pants ~ Courtesy of Oswald Chambers

I read "Hinds Feet on High Places" a few years ago. The words "though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" were burned into my memory. Ridiculous, isn't it? Loving and trusting God so much that even when your earthly life is falling to pieces, you continue to follow Him.

Oswald Chambers has always been difficult to understand . . . until a few days ago.

Ye Are Not Your Own

Why shouldn't we go through heartbreaks? Through those doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son. Most of us fall and collapse at the first grip of pain; we sit down on the threshold of God's purpose and die away of self-pity, and all so called Christian sympathy will aid us to our death bed. But God will not. He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, and says--'Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine.' If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart.

. . . though He slay me, yet will I trust Him . . .

After Surrender--What?

God never crushes a man's will into surrender, He never beseeches him, He waits until the man yields up his will to Him.

The Consciousness of the Call

If a man or woman is called of God, it does not matter how untoward circumstances are, every force that has been at work will tell for god's purpose in the end. If you agree with God's purpose He will bring not only your conscious life, but all the deeper regions of your life which you cannot get at, into harmony.

Don't Think Now, Take the Road

"And Peter . . . walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid."
The wind was actually boisterous, the waves were actually high, but Peter did not see them at first. He did not reckon with them, he simply recognized his Lord and stepped out in recognition of Him, and walked on the water. Then he began to reckon with the actual things, and down he went instantly . . . We step right out on God over some things, then self-consideration enters in and down we go. If you are recognizing your Lord, you have no business with where He engineers your circumstances. The actual things ARE, but immediately you look at them you are overwhelmed, you cannot recognize Jesus, and the rebuke comes . . .
If you debate for a second when God has spoken, it is all up. Never begin to say--"Well, I wonder if He did speak?" Be reckless immediately, fling it all out on Him. You do not know when His voice will come, but whenever the realization of God comes in the faintest way imaginable, recklessly abandon. It is only by abandon that you recognize Him. You will only realize His voice more clearly by recklessness.

Success isn't whether you're famous or dirt poor . . . true success is following God wholeheartedly. A backwoods hillbilly can be the most successful man if he's doing what God wants :)

God is working in my life in huge ways right now. Trying to figure out what God wants me to do for school is the most pressing issue on my heart. Should I stay where I am right now? Or give up life as I know it, move to the other side of the country and go to school for Compassion Ministry (counseling)? One offers a slight feeling of security even though I'd be living amidst current storms. The other offers freedom from storms, yet a total and complete sacrifice of my way of life, hopes, dreams, and ambitions.

Anyways, Chambers gave me a kick in the spiritual pants. Giving up isn't an option. God never said things would be easy. It should be a pleasure to share the teensiest piece of pain that He went through.

Love the ones who push you away.




Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Tonight was not good. It was un-good. In fact, it was a very crappy night.

First. It was raining dogs, cats, goats, and horses. Lightening was weaving magic through the clouds. Thunder growled at me. All this during chore time.

Second. I just finished writing down the weights of my baby goats in my goat notebook when a familia member said . . . "Why is pebbles on the milking stand?" Sure enough, the brown rabbit hopped over the electric fence (in the rain), got thoroughly soaked, and bawled her head off until I came out to milk almost an hour early.

Third. Pebbles decided to shake the water off her body while I was just getting the last of the milk out. Wet goat water went all inside the milk bucket. Do you honestly think I'm going to drink that milk?!?!? NOPE! The baby goat had nearly two quarts of milk donated to it.

Fourth. I kinda broke one of my favorite snowflake dessert plates.

Fifth. I think I swallowed a chicken bone in my scalloped potatoes and ham.

Sixth. The fam kicked me downstairs to finish watching "So you think you can dance" which Fox 11 covered up with its 'urgent' weather reports that weren't even in my area.

Hopefully my unfortunate night will make you laugh . . .

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Milk Fever, Ketosis, Infected Umbilical Cord, and Urinary Calculi

Heck of a title, eh?

Well, those are all goat health issues that I am currently dealing with. I noticed Pebbles (baby Dehlia's mother) wasn't acting right. Its pretty common that does mope around after kidding out and the first fresheners act like pansies about their sore udders. However, here are FiasCo Farm's symptoms.

*The doe seems weak.
*Decrease in appetite
*Mild bloat or constipation
The doe is wobbly on her feet.
Inability to stand.
*Muscular trembling.
Weakened uterine contractions
Decreased body temperature.
The doe may stop ruminating, urinating or defecating.
*Shivering after milkin
g

*The doe eats less or stops eating completely.
*Depression
*Seperation from the herd
The doe may be slow to get up or may lie off in a corner.
*Her eyes are dull.
Somestimes blindness
Muscle tremors & seizures
Staggering
Head pressing
She may have swollen ankles
She may grind her teeth.
*The doe may breathe more rapidly.
The doe's breath and urine may have a fruity sweet odor. This is due to the excess ketones, which have a sweet smell.

* means these were observed in Pebbles.

Pebbles would also walk very slow . . . not because her udder was sore . . . but because she couldn't walk quickly from those symptoms. We had to act quickly because she stopped eating all together. I found a recipe for Magic Ketosis Treatment then I starting drenching Pebbles with 3 oz a day. But, as Fiasco recommends, I also added "Goats Prefer" Probios to the sticky mixture. Sure enough, a few hours later, she started to perk up and ate her entire milking ration and began eating hay!!! I'll continue that mixture for a week or until she's better.
As for the Milk Fever, FiasCo recommends dosing with Tums (contains 500mg of Calcium Carbonate) and Calcium Citrate. I'm giving her 3-4 generic tums in the morning and 1 tablet of Calcium Citrate in the evening. Needless to say, Pebbles is feeling sooo much better! I obviously need to reevaluate the feed/hay since both sicknesses are preventable through proper nutrition.

Infected Umbilical Cord
As my previous post discusses, Pebbles kidded out a doeling that we named Dehlia. Dehlia's umbilical cord broke at 3-4 inches naturally, since it wasn't bleeding I just left it and used lots of iodine to dry it up. A fellow goat breeder friend pointed out that she ties off the cord at 1" and cuts off the rest. Yuppers, definitely going to do her suggestion for next year (as well as purchase u-cord clips from Hoegger). Yesterday I noticed Dehlia had a 2-3" swelling at the base of the cord (belly button area). I was suggested to give her a round of Penicillin shots and with further research, discovered that it would be a good idea to give her some Tetanus Antitoxin. Here are the links for the meds. Penicillin dosages. Tetanus Antitoxin dosages. And the website with info about Umbilical Cord Infections. So poor Dehlia has to deal with me giving her shots of Pen for the next 5-10 days (only one Antitoxin dose was needed) and trying to keep the swelling well iodined.

Urinary Calculi
One of my purchased doelings has decided to get 'hard pee' as some dairy cow lovers have aptly described. She yelps in pain whenever she squats to pee. The "Natural Goat Care" book by Pat Coleby suggests a dessertspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar once a day until symptoms are gone. Cider Vinegar has lots of benefits for dairy goats but it also neutralizes urinary calculi in bucks and wethers. I'm diluting it with a little water and drenching the doeling. I'll continue that for about a week or until she is better.

What a life. Wish us good luck and prayers that these three goaties will heal quickly.


Monday, May 31, 2010

New Arrival!!!!





Welcome to Red Brick Farm, little one :)

Please pardon the messy container . . . the iodine for the umbilical cord always scares everyone ;) And the hairy monster peaking over the edge is what my dog looks like at 6 in the morning without a hair binder.

Although the last three nights have only held 3-5 hours of sleep, I attempted to identify the kid's gender. I'm pretty sure its a girl!!! Now if someone comes over and tells me that its a boy, I shall be deeply embarrassed . . . but for the fact that I'm nodding off over the keyboard, there may be some excuse for my mental state.

The kid will be named Dehlia. But if, for some reason, I guessed wrong, it'll be called Stanley. Now I just have to work on the registration name! She looks so much like her momma except she has white markings where her mom is only brown with black points.


And here she is trying to dance at less than a day old!


Hasta luego.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Strawberry Transplanting Secrets

If you've ever had a patch of strawberries, you know the frustration you get when spending all day transplanting those runners only to find them wilted at the end of the day. Here's some trade secrets I've discovered and had a HUGE success rate this year!

Its sooooo important to do this right when the frost leaves the ground! You're just wasting your time when transplanting in late spring-summer.

1. Thoroughly SOAK the runner-plants you are about to transplant. Make sure their soil is muddy and squashy ;) This enables you to get ALL the roots out of the soil. I stick a trowel about 4 inches away from the plant and lift the plant partially out of the ground. Then I grab the plant's crown and pull straight up. Since you turned your patch into a swamp, the entire plant easily slides out.

2. Place all your runner plants into a bucket of water. Do NOT let the plants dry out.

3. Next, dig a small hole where you want a plant to grow. Inside the bottom of the hole, make a little mountain of dirt so the strawberry plant's crown is resting on top the mountain. Then carefully cover the roots with dirt. Gently pack the soil making sure there are no air pockets (which will dry out the roots) and create a small trench around each plant for water.

4. WATER thoroughly. TWICE if you need to :) Fill up those trenches.

5. Water every morning a few weeks after planting until the plant is well established and happy looking! Plants don't like to be watered in the midday when they sunburn, or in the night when they'll get 'wet feet'. The morning is the best.

6. PLEASE pick off those strawberry blossoms! I know its painful spending all that time transplanting and then picking off the blossoms, but it will be worth it. All first year plantings should never be allowed to blossom or fruit. Wanna know why? The plant will be spending all its reserves trying to produce small-seedy fruit instead of growing and preparing for winter. You'll get an excellent crop of strawberries the second year if you religiously pick off those blooms. Otherwise -- assuming your plants even survive the winter -- they'll never produce too much in their lifetime if allowed to fruit the first year.

Well folks, thats all I can think of for now! Until next time ;)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

BABY GOATS!!!

Red Brick Farm has two new arrivals!!!

Meet Starlight.



And Sweetie Pie!


But so far this picture is my favorite ;)


Aren't they perfectly adorable?!?!?! They were born in March and are so sweet. My friend raised them and did a marvelous job as usual ;) I wuv goaties!

Starlight and Sweetie Pie are joined at the shoulder they are so attached to each other. One never leaves the other. They eat together, drink together, graze together, and cuddle up by each other at night. So cute! By the way, its so nice to have kids in the kid pen again!!!!

And Pebbles is due any day now . . . her kid will be registered as a grade Nubian with the ADGA. I've already gotten the kidding bucket ready and will be getting an order ready for Hoegger Supply for a disbudding tool, a tatoo kit, and a couple much-needed goat items.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go AWAY!

What dreary weather we've been having lately. It seems like nearly everyday is raining. Some of our newly planted annuals from the garden center have been murdered by frost. "Santa Claus 3" lied . . . Frost hasn't shaped up. I also mistakenly shaved my does and planted gladiolus. Now I have squashy annual beds and goats in sweaters runnin' around all over the place :{

A good thing: I'm almost done with this semester!!! Only another week or so and I'll have a break until the summer semester. January is going to be my summer vacation by the way.

Another good thing: I finally ordered essential oils from WSP! I got Citronella for making Bug Off soap and fly spray for my horse and goats. Plus Lavender 40/42 for yummy lavender soap.

Although the world around me is dark, mucky, and wet . . . I shall keep my chin up and think of good things ;) Psalm 91:6 has a marvelous verse about God's protection. Toodles.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Flowers as Promised



Sorry its a few days later than I expected ;) A handful of my favorite spring photos!







And more to come! The tulips are up next.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Flowers

Okay, one of the reasons I made this blog was to showcase my flowers each year ;) I promise to post some pictures in the next couple days! The tulips are nearly blooming so you can probably tell I'm quite late.
Check back for photos of my landscaping!!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

News and Such

It looks like Pebbles is pregnant!!! I finally felt something teensy kicking around in there ;) Hopefully I'm right and it wasn't her breakfast. She's 3 1/2 months and is due in June. *sigh* another June-ish baby . . . meaning I'll have a sassy little yearling running around the pasture.

Clover is a living testament that yearlings with no responsibilities get naughty! Got my first official head butt from that goat. But then again I suppose its difficult for a yearling to avoid the human walking through the whole pasture and decide to go tearing up to that human without realizing maybe its a good thing to stop first. *sigh*

Yesterday I was able to take some new soap flavors to Dew Hills. Lemondrops, Unscented, and Chocolate were the ones I left. I'm also working on putting up some internet advertisements.

The flowers are absolutely gorgeous! The spring bulbs are coming up everywhere!!! The crocuses, snowdrops, and tete-a-tete daffies are already gone for the year. And the bulbs I planted around the mailbox are also blooming! Our blue grape hyacinths have popped up and the odd tulips and daffies on the hill are going to bloom any day. The highlight of this windy day--my cherry tree is starting to get blossom buds. The tree has been in our yard for 5 years (this summer) so a small crop of cherries is very exciting.

Friday was gardening day. We worked on the herb garden, a patch of formal landscaping, and a tulip bed. The formal landscaping is overrun with violets and violas. I was able to rescue some of them and transplant them into the tulip bed--according to a new modern gardening technique. There were also some leftover to liven up the sparse rose bed.

Our kitchen floor is covered with seed starting flats ;) Burpee's Sweet Pepper Mix, Rosemary, and two Big Max Pumpkins were started. We also planted more of Burpee's Tutti Fruitti Lupines, Chinese Forget-me-nots and no-name Petunias, Snapdragons, Zinnias, and Sweet William. My sister gave me some Park seeds for Mexican Blanket Flowers and Sea Star Asters (which are growing marvelously). The heirloom lavender had some issues and then came down with fungus (the kind that gets zinnias) so I treated it and we'll see what happens. I might just have to concede and grow hybrid lavender :(

Soap making is on halt at the moment from a lack of vegetable shortening! But Idlewylde is dreaming up a new batch of 'Lavender' and 'Milk and Honey' once the soap pot is back in business.

Well, studying for a test is calling me. Whoever might read this, hopefully you're not bored to tears from my bantering about flowers, goats, and soap ;)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Man Soap

Yay! We finally made the man soap!!! I took a blend of lots of herbs that smelled, well--'manly'. Then I infused them into olive oil for a couple weeks and then added the mix + some cumin at trace. The soap pot was super fragrant when cleaning up :) We'll see if any of the scents carry through. The color ended up plain tan instead of greenish like I wanted :{

This coming Sunday I'd like to try my hand at Milk and Honey soap. When adding honey to an unscented base its supposed to end up smelling like a sweet bread dough!!!

After that, maybe a batch of Oatmeal again . . . minus the chamomile this time.

For the farm: if Pebbles is pregnant, she is officially 3 months along. I'm seeing some changes but its so hard to tell right now. Not feeling anything kicking yet either.

Also I've been designing a tunic top/dress with a wide neckline. I have the garment base completed but it still needs some embellishing. Then I need to figure out how to model it . . . hmmm who can I torture ;)




Sunday, March 21, 2010

Yummo!

Yummo! Lemongrass soap smelled heavenly today!!!! It made the whole house aromatic and citrusy. I think next time I soap with EO's it would be a snazzy idea to use a fan to blow fumes away . . . EO's are highly concentrated and it probably wasn't too smart breathing it all in :{

I burnt my tongue on the yummo coffee at church today :(

We filled up some of the birdfeeders with black oil sunflower seeds . . . if you fill them, 'they' will come.

My friend is going to be selling me two gorgeous baby doelings this spring!!!!!!!!!!!

There's still a chance Pebbles (the yearling) is pregnant :)

I baked an apple pie.

Now I need to go sew a designer doggie pillow/bed for my puppy, create a diaper for her out of a human baby cloth diaper (for her heat cycles), and then create a pattern for a clothing piece I'm envisioning!!!!

My chocolate soap is now available on my etsy shop, Idlewylde.etsy.com

I cannot wait to plan out the seed order!

Oh, and the lamb's ears, lemon balm, thyme, and chamomile all survived the winter :)

And poor guys . . . the man soap is still on the back burner.

Adios.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Aura Cacia

Hmmmm, Lemongrass *spoken with a french accent*

I paid 3-4 times more than I should have, but I finally purchased my very first essential oil to soap with! At first I was disappointed at how stinky most of the EO's were, but once lemongrass reached my nosey, it was love at first smell. Think lemon drop candy!!!!!

If I can replenish my coconut oil, then my first scented batch will be completed this Sunday.

Yuppers, it was a busy day today.

The fam went out to town, got coffees, pizza, raided the mall, and purchased bird seeds from the feed mill. What a doll of a day ;) My most recent dollar store finds: a pink flowerpot with little ladybugs and 'grown with love' imprinted in the ceramic, a pink beaded wind-chime, and two packs of gladiola corms!!! I wuv dollar stores.

Come to think of it, two sundays ago I fell in love with an item at Target. It was in the dollar section - meoohaahahahaha - a white coffee mug with a gray and white shih-tzu adorning the front. It has little pink bows in its hair, and just happens to look like my own pup. Have I ever mentioned how much I wuv dollar finds? ;)

Other than all that jazz I'm trying to sell all my saddles :{ Its not going too well. Since the horse market fell a couple years ago, so has the horse tack market. Very sad.

And I also caved in. told my dad to pick up a bag of 10% all stock feed. that is very sad too. BUT, Millie and Belle are ecstatic about the deal ;)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

YES!!!!

My soaps are now being displayed at Dew Hills Gifts and Greetings . . . an amazing shop where you can get delish coffee and food! I left 5 coffee soaps and 2 chamomile so we'll see where it goes from there. That pink dell laptop doesn't look to far off :) I do have a sneaking suspicion I will 'have' to make soap more than once a week from now on. Oh, what torture ;)

If all goes well, tomorrow I will make some unscented GM soap . . . and if I feel adventurous, that 'man soap' we've been putting off.

Also, methinks lavender will be my first Essential Oil purchase.

Other than that, now our yard is a giant mud pit! The poor goaties cannot avoid stepping in wetness--they've been quite the little troopers lately. The snowdrops and crocuses should start growing the end of this month with the daffys not too far behind. Last fall I designed a small bed around the mailbox with tulips, daffys, and snake lilies . . . anticipation!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sold Out

My batch of coffee soap . . . its all spoken for! I talked with a local coffee shop owner who is willing to put my soaps on consignment!!!!! We only have one teensy sample for ourselves ;)

To keep ahead of things, I made more coffee soap today. I wuv it! The man soap will be postponed until this coming Sunday.

Hmmmmm, otherwise today was gorgeous. The sun was shining, snow melting, and although the pasture is a mud pit, it was pretty amazing outside. My dad was elected to help measure our horse for a winter blanket. Talk about amusing. Ever since the vet tried taking a rectal temp, the poor horse doesn't trust strange objects near her hiney :)

Yup. Then my lab mutt got loose and decided to visit all the neighbors. There was me, walking down the road in muck boots, whistling like an idiot. Have I mentioned its shedding season? A horse person instinctively knows the day shedding starts . . . when you find horse hair on your mittens, jeans, boots, sweaters, and sometimes in between your teeth.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Un-molding

My chocolate soap is a success! It has a very interesting scent. What baffles me are the morphing color changes. I un-molded the soap (it was a light tan color), let it sit on the counter for an hour where it turned orange. Then I cut the tan-orange log and placed the bars on the curing shelf. I came back a few hours later . . . the inside of the bars turned PURPLE-ish!

Gel was prevented and there were no other additives to produce such an odd change.


At least I have two bars with cool swirls ;)



Soap is so weird ;) Once we make our 'man soap' then we're going to try Pumpkin Soap, another batch of Unscented, and then some Carrot Soap!

Yeah, and my list of stuff to buy for kidding season . . . that's gonna be post-poned. I want to wait until April 1st. Pebbles would be 3 months along and her kid hopefully kicking up a ruckus in momma's tummy! Then we would know for sure ;)





Awesome Product!

I am so amazed at all the talented artisans on Etsy! Recently I discovered that people make unique equine accessories and sell them on the site. Customizable bridle tags, roper reins, horse shampoo bars, saddle pads/blankets, winter turn-outs, bridles. Its so cool!

On the top of my 'to buy' list is this item :

Hand-made by Soaperie Main de Nature


It is a horse and dog shampoo bar!!!!!

My horse had a serious reaction to Mane and Tail shampoo, making me afraid to try other commercial equine shampoos. The solution is above! I cannot wait till I buy one for my horse and the weather starts warming up enough to use it ;)

Nicole also makes an insect repelling Apple and Rosemary. But I plan on buying an Avocado and Tea Tree bar at her recommendation!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Chocolate Milk Soap! And other updates ;)

Yep, I'm at it again! Yesterday I made some chocolate GM soap. It was sooo hard melting Baker's chocolate! But I ended up doing it with a 'double boiler' method ;) We didn't have any cocoa to add to it, plus I heard too much powdered cocoa can give you brown, staining bubbles -- ick! Too much of any chocolate can lend adverse effects but hopefully I did okay. This time I used freezer paper to line the mold; it is waxed on one side. Wax paper is lined on both sides and I think the soap's heat ended up gluing the paper to the inside of the mold.

What I'm hoping for:
SMOOTH, buttery texture
A nice warm brown color
Slight chocolate scent


*Update on Previous Soap* The Chamomile infused Oatmeal soap finished curing yesterday and it is marvelous!
Qualities:
Slight, sweet clover scent (from the chamomile).
Medium suds in hard water! (from amending my recipe)
The large half-moon shapes are great for high-traffic kitchen sinks!
The chamomile heads are not scratchy but gently exfoliating!!!
It is another great bar for eczema :) Chamomile and Oatmeal soothe and reduce inflammation.

*Update on Millie*
She's doing much better! No more shivering, low temps, or 'off'-ness. She's getting that twinkle back in her eye!!! I'll continue feeding her 5 generic Tums a day until this Friday (two weeks total). Also I'm considering supplementing her hay with Alfalfa pellets to provide extra protein and calcium without feeding her grain . . . we'll see. Adios Milk Fever.

This Sunday I'll try my first "Man Soap" recipe. Things to remember; a lot of men hate scratchy things (why do you think Hanes started making tag-less undies!), flowery scents, small soap bars . . . and I forgot the rest. Sorry, eh!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Un-Molding . . .

Here's some pictures of my last two batches of Goat Milk soaps!

Coffee-Coffee Soap

It took an hour just to un-mold this! My arms haven't hurt so much since stacking hay ;) Methinks I should try parchment paper to line the mold next time. Wax paper gets soggy and doesn't slide out like it should.

Other than that, this batch ended up perfectly circular, Yahoo!!!!! It smells like chocolate for some reason (a delovely surprise). We'll see what it smells like in 1-1/2 weeks when its done curing. While cutting it into bars this afternoon, I had a strange urge to eat it . . .



Chamomile Oat

We didn't have any vaseline in the house to 'grease' the molds, so I waited over a week before attempting to un-mold these individual soaps. The water content in homemade soap will evaporate over time, making somewhat cured soaps easier to get out.

I added the chamomile heads to this soap along with its infused Olive Oil. Hopefully it won't be too scratchy and hopefully the chamomile scent will stay! I like the yellow-ish color it turned. Each batch ends up such a unique color according to the natural ingredients.

Not sure what the qualities are yet . . . we can't use it until this Sunday!




Sunday, February 21, 2010

Coffee-Coffee Soap!

I know . . . I said coffee twice :)

Since I want to start selling soaps by next January, I need ALL the practice I can get. Sundays are my official soaping day.

Today I used my usual Martha Stewart Goat Milk Soap recipe, substituted double-strength coffee for half of the liquid (GM is the other half), and added 1 Tbl of used, Fog Lifter coffee grounds. I read somewhere that freshly ground coffee beans were way too scratchy. Plus I made sure to add the coffee AFTER the initial lye reaction . . . hopefully that will preserve some of the smell.

What I'm hoping for: Chocolately color. Slight Coffee scent. Exfoliation, without sacrificing the moisturizing benefits of the recipe.

I stuck the Pringles can/mold in the freezer for two hours, then transferred to the fridge where it will stay for the rest of its 48 hour 'insulation' period. Hopefully this will prevent the soap from gelling-- giving it a lighter color. It should also prevent the soap from volcano-ing into an odd shaped log.

Trace was so much smoother, slower, and harder to see. I liked it! My previous two batches traced instantly and were difficult to mold (think trying to fit mashed potatoes into a container versus pudding). My hand coordination is also getting better ;) It's difficult trying to pour oils and stir a dangerously caustic solution at the same time, without passing out from ammonia fumes . . .

Oh yeah, another thing that helped-- making sure each bit of hard oils was melted, then refrigerating until the temp lowered to 95 F. Then adding to the cooled lye solution.

Reflections . . .

With my brother's prodding, I finally decided to read Nate Saint's story, Jungle Pilot. Since elementary school this has been a painful story for me to read. Everyone talks about martyrs in the Bible times but they don't realize this is still an ongoing issue. When reading Nate's bio in different literature and bible textbooks all I could ever think of was about his wife and family. The amount of love and faith in your Creator to 'go into all the world', the amount of forgiveness to minister to the same people who brutally murdered your loved ones . . . its unimaginable.

This quote really spoke to me. Nate starts by talking about all the equipment inside and outside of the plane--it looks pretty--but uses precious weight, fuel, and space.

""You know, lots of things are like that--they feel nice, or they look nice but they don't help us to get the job done. They hold us back, so we need to get rid of them. The job that the Lord Jesus Christ has for you and me is not an easy one. If you want to serve Him, if you want to help win others to Christ, you will have to choose one thing or another. It may be something you like very much but [is] something that will hold you back."

Characteristically, Nate turned this to spiritual illustration:

"When life's flight is over, and we unload our cargo at the other end, the fellow who got rid of unnecessary weight will have the most valuable cargo to present to the Lord. Not only that. There's another secret. Two airplanes may look alike, but one may be able to lift twice the load into the air. The difference is the horsepower of the engine. Bible reading is the power of the Christian life. Dead weight doesn't do you any good and a big plane with little horsepower doesn't go anywhere.""


This one grabbed my attention too!

"Nate often pondered upon the ways in which the Lord had been working. He wrote his friends at home:

"Have you noticed that when a man finds the will of the Lord for his life, there always seems to be an evident relationship between the talents or gifts or preparation the Lord has given him and the job the Lord has called him to do?

. . . When Marj and I first dedicated our lives for missionary service, we felt that our foregoing efforts and pursuits were entirely in the wrong direction. We were ready and counted all those things lost for Christ and the gospel. But as soon as we began serious preparation for the field, God called our attention to the heartbreaking lack of transportation in pioneer fields---fields where penetration is nearly impossible because of the physical barriers. Now we rejoice in God's gracious care for our lives even before they were entirely His---preparing us specifically and without any wasted motion for the job He had for us to do!""

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How to Trim Goat Hooves

How Red Brick Farm trims goat hooves:
I don't use hoof knives, they're too scary. Would you want your toe nails trimmed with this thing?!? They're used to trim the sole and heels of the goat hoof.

We trim the first of every month. Our does' footing is soft so their hooves grow very fast. You should train your goat to pick up all four feet, making this job SO much easier.

What you need:
hoof pick
hoof shears
hoof file/knife

1. Clean the dirt out of your goat's hooves. You can't see what you're doing if the hooves are packed with dirt. Also, dirt dramatically dulls your shears.

2. Trim the excess heel and hoof wall growth, level with the sole (making sure to trim the excess on the inside backs of each 'claw')

3. With your hoof file or scary hoof knife, level off the hoof so it is parallel with the coronary band. STOP at the first sign of pink in the sole or walls.

4. Trim overly long dew claws.

Voila! You're done. If you have a problem with hoof rot in your area, it would be an excellent idea to clean the equipment after each goat.

Want illustrations? Here's a great link! http://hoeggergoatsupply.com/info/hoof.shtml



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Last Day of Freedom

Today is my last day of blissful freedom. Three online classes start tomorrow, and one on-campus class starts the day after. While I'm super excited for my business classes, I'm not too excited for the one that 'develops my personal skills as a supervisor' and includes textbooks such as "Time Management", "How to Manage Your Stress", etc. Kind of ironic considering most Tech students are dirt poor, and always financially stressed! I was hoping it would be about the legal issues of firing and hiring employees . . . just goes to show I didn't exactly read my class description ;) But alas, it will get me ready for all my in-person ones this Fall.

News: I'll be starting Millie on a round of calcium home remedies . . . something goat owners frequently do for lack of knowledgeable professionals.
What's on the medicine tray?
Tums.
Yes, those human antacid tablets. I guess they contain Calcium Carbonate and help prevent hypocaelcemia. She needs 5-6 of them each day for a week or so. If she doesn't eat them, or if the symptoms don't go away, we'll try human Calcium Citrate powder, and top-dress some grain. Maybe mix in some molasses with either one :)

Pray I'll keep my sanity through the next couple months ;) Laverne and Shirley seasons, my puppy, chocolate, coffee, and soapmaking will be my personal anti-stress companions. In all honesty, I actually like school, heehee!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Milk Fever

Sorry folks, Milk Fever is NOT another name for Red Brick Farm dying for a glass of goat milk. It's actually not related to fever at all. It's called hypocalcaemia and roots from a lack of calcium. The goatie symptoms are shivering, low body temp, weakness, running into things, and the worst--death. Milk Fever usually happens when the doe kids out and begins heavily milking. In my case, one of my does began shivering in December when her production began to taper off. . . vets have told me it is not milk fever, but I know my goats better than that! My research has turned up these two excellent links.http://allthingsgoat.com/2010/02/milk-fever/ and http://fiascofarm.com/goats/milkfever.htm Milk Fever can occur at ANY time, whether dry or lactating. Thank goodness my doe only has a mild case. The cure: Tums, molasses, alfalfa hay and other high calcium foods. I guess this goes to show that even specific goatie minerals don't give your does enough of what they specifically need at certain stages.

What I learned the hard way:
1. ALWAYS use your better judgement, and double check what your vet recommends for your does. You know them better than you know yourself, get second opinions and educate yourself. Most vets are not familiar with Caprine diseases or their treatments. You can never be too careful when it comes to your doe's health.
2. ALWAYS feed your does pure alfalfa hay. It is imperative. My normal alfalfa hay supplier had dusty hay, so we ended up using our nice grassy horse hay instead. Don't make the same mistake!
3. If your does are eating more minerals than normal, check things out!
4. ALWAYS weigh your grain by weight, with a scale! I stupidly made the beginner mistake of feeding by measuring cups. Huge 'no, no' some grains are heavier than others. I will be weighing my containers of grain from now on (subtracting the container weight, the reason why I Adore Tare function), calculating the average, and feeding that amount from now on. Goat formulated grains usually contain enough vitamins and minerals by themselves, but if you forget to weigh them, you may end up paying a high price--your doe's health.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Things I Could Not Live Without

1. The Tare function on my jewelry scale!
2. Silicone spatulas. They make soapmaking a cinch.
3. Chocolate Covered Pretzels. Especially if they have toffee sprinkles!!!
4. Candy thermometers. For making caramels, goat chevre, and heating oils for soap :)
5. Mini-strainers, just because they're so cute!
6. My goat hoof file and trimmers.
7. A pink Dell laptop. *sigh* This is something I will buy with my 'soap money' as soon as it starts rolling in :) It will make my scholarly, business, and digital storage dreams complete. Honestly, I'll probably be the only one without a laptop in school this fall. *sigh* Maybe I can paint a cardboard box pink, print off a dell sticker, and carry it around so I can be like everyone else.
8. HTML tags. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to do lots of cool stuff with my blog, posting ads, etc. All I do is search google for "html tags for 'example'"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Soaping Day!!!

Happy Valentine's to all!!!!
For my Valentines day, I made soap. Room-temperature-cold-process soap to be exact ;) This time around I made sure to melt the Crisco, completely! This time, I was able to take my time. For my second batch of soap, I decided to make Chamomile-infused Oatmeal soap. Of course it was made with our home grown Chamomile and Goat Milk. Plus a family member was able to suit up with me, keep me company, and watch me at work ;)

Today was so exciting though. After church we hopped over to a 'dollar' store. I was able to pick up 4 half-moon shaped silicone molds (safe for all appliances), mini strainers, an expendable cookie sheet tray, and more latex gloves. Why was this exciting? Because each item would have been WAY more than $5 in a normal store. That in itself is reason for rejoicing! Oh by the way--that church has AWESOME coffee, yum!


Here's a picture of my saponifying soap in the freezer . . . it will be transfered to the fridge (for a couple days) as soon as I finish this post ;) Then, all the soap has to sit in their molds in the open air for 2 weeks to finish saponifying, cure, and mellow out.

What's next on the Red Brick Farm agenda? To make a batch of coffee soap!!!

What's pressing on Red Brick Farm's mind???? To replenish the birthing bucket, buy a disbudder, buy a tatoo kit, and buy a couple more doelings from my friends!!!! Whew!

What. A. Life. :)